Adrian Pasdar, Hayden Panettere, Milo Ventimiglia, (NPC) Jack Coleman. The afternoon after.
[15 March, 2009. Continues on shortly after Morena and Adrian try to help Sendhil stop backsliding and Sendhil decides he needs to move out.]
With Morena upstairs helping Sendhil, and Hayden and Milo not due home for at least a little while, Adrian grabs his phone and calls Batman.
Or, well, his personal Batman.
He holds the phone between chin and ear, fishes out a cigarette, grabs his lighter, and heads outside, waiting for Jack to answer.
It only takes a couple of rings before Jack answers. "Hello?"
"Adrian... it's early on your day off for you to be up and about, isn't it?"
Adrian sighs softly and rubs at his eyes. "I had to be up to take care of Sendhil, if necessary. Plus I had a pregnant house guest last night."
"Morena was over?" Jack doesn't like something about the tone in Adrian's voice. "What's going on?"
"Sendhil's moving out," Adrian says after a moment. "The village plan isn't working."
There's a pause from Jack. "I thought it would take a little bit longer, but that sounds about right."
"Sooner or later, he was going to have to figure out how to be independent," Jack says. "Initially, he needed more support to be able to keep himself safe. Now, he needs to do it on his own. But now, he has people that he can go to for help, and hopefully he knows that, and will."
Adrian's quiet a moment. He hadn't thought of that. But then he says, "He went out last night and got high, Jack."
That does get a sigh from Jack. "I'd hoped that wouldn't happen. I knew it might, but I'd hoped it wouldn't. Is he all right?"
"Yeah. He played safe with whoever it was he played with. He said it was 'friends'."
"I won't pretend to be happy that he was doing drugs, but Sendhil playing safe? I don't know that he's done that before by choice," Jack points out.
"No, I'm not sure that he has. So I guess it's something."
"It is. So he's all right. How about you?"
"I'm shaken. He wanted me to... punish him. Do something. He called me 'daddy'."
"I don't remember him using that particular word before," Jack says, frowning as he thinks about it. "But I think it's clear that he thought you would punish him. That he was trying to get some kind of reaction from you."
"Oh, yeah. I know that much. So I just sent him to bed without the dessert he wanted."
"I wonder how many people in Sendhil's life have actually told him 'no'. I don't think it's many."
"I think this might now be me and Zach's strange little friend Zachary."
Zach's strange little friend Zachary is roughly the same height as Adam Baldwin, but Jack doesn't bother to say so. "That probably made more of an impact than you think."
"I suspect it might have."
"Does he know what he wants to do next?"
"He's moving out."
"To where?" Jack asks.
"I'm... not quite sure."
Again, Jack sighs, very softly. "A year ago, we couldn't get Sendhil to make a decision about a blue or red shirt. I know you don't like it, Adrian, but this is forward progress for him."
"I know it is. I just don't want him to go."
"I know," Jack says. "And I'm sorry."
Adrian sighs. "But we'll get through this."
"You will. We all will. And something tells me that once he has the opportunity to be independent successfully, he's going to be back to spending a lot of time with all of us."
"You're usually right, so I'm going to hold you to that."
"Do that. I'll lay odds on it."
"I could kiss you."
"Soon. I'm betting that you could use some time," Jack says.
"I think I probably could."
"Then let's consider it booked."
"Perfect." Adrian stubs out his cigarette. "I'd better head back inside to watch for Hayden and Milo."
"They don't know yet?" Jack says, wincing a little. "Call me later, if you need to talk."
"I will, Jack. Thanks."
"Take care, Adrian. I'll be around all day."
Adrian takes a very deep breath, gets up, and heads back into the house just as he hears the front door opening, and little Chanel barking, then running to meet Hayden and Milo.
"Shan! Oh, sweetheart, I missed you!" Hayden says, dropping down to pick up the puppy.
Chanel obviously missed Hayden, too, as she attempts to lick all the skin off of Hayden's face.
Adrian leans in the doorway to the foyer. "Hey, you two."
Hayden giggles as her face is washed, then looks up at Adrian. "And I missed you more."
"I missed you both very much. Come here, both of you." He holds out a hand.
Hayden sets Chanel down on the floor and takes Milo's hand, leading him over to Adrian.
Adrian tugs Hayden and Milo in nice and close, kissing them both. "I love you," he whispers against Hayden's lips, then against Milo's.
"Adrian..." Milo's not usually all that perceptive, but he frowns. "What's wrong?"
Adrian rubs at his face ."Sendhil had a bad night. And he'd like to have a place of his own. It was all rather unexpected."
"What?" Hayden almost jerks out of Adrian's arms, she moves back so fast. "He's... what?"
"He wants to have a space that's entirely his. He's upstairs with Morena going through all of his things. I don't know where he'll go, exactly."
"He's leaving now?" Unexpected isn't a strong enough word for Hayden right then.
"Well, he doesn't exactly have a place."
"He has my place," Hayden says. "All of my things that aren't at someone else's house are there."
Adrian nods. "That's right. Of course. I'm sure he'd be very grateful, Hayden."
"He's... this is really happening?" she says softly. "He's really leaving?"
"Not permanently, Hayden," Adrian says. "He's just going to spend some time on his own, now."
"What happened?" she asks. "He was thinking he might come meet up with me and Milo at the club."
"He went somewhere else. Met up with some 'friends'. Got high. Played with them."
Milo turns and hurries up the stairs.
Hayden sighs. "Well. That's gonna go well."
Adrian reaches out and pulls her into his arms. "I don't want him to go."
She holds on tightly, resting her cheek against his shoulder. "I don't want him to go either."
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